McPartland playing at St. Joseph's Villa in
Richmond, Virginia in 1975
|Birth name||Margaret Marian Turner|
20 March 1918|
Slough, South East England, United Kingdom
|Died||20 August 2013
Port Washington, New York, United States
|Baldwin SF10 Artist Grand|
Margaret Marian McPartland, OBE (née Turner; 20 March 1918 – 20 August 2013), was an English-born American jazz pianist, composer and writer. She was the host of Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz on National Public Radio from 1978 until 2011.
After her marriage to Jimmy McPartland in February 1945, she resided in the United States when not travelling throughout the world to perform. In 1969 she founded Halcyon Records, a recording company that produced albums for ten years. In 2000 she was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master. In 2004 she was given a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement. In 2007 she was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. Known mostly for jazz, nonetheless, she composed other types of music as well, performing her own symphonic work A Portrait of Rachel Carson with the University of South Carolina Symphony Orchestra in 2007. In 2010 she was named a member of the Order of the British Empire.
Margaret Marian Turner was a musical prodigy from the time she could sit at the piano, about the age of three. She studied classical music and the violin, in addition to the piano.
Turner pursued classical studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Much to the dismay of her family, she developed a love for American jazz and musicians such as Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Teddy Wilson, Mary Lou Williams, and many others. In 1938, despite her family's efforts to keep her at Guildhall, Marian left to join Billy Mayerl's Claviers, a four-piano vaudeville act, performing under the stage name of Marian Page. The group toured throughout Europe during World War II, entertaining Allied troops.
While touring with USO shows in Belgium, she met and began performing with Chicago cornetist Jimmy McPartland in 1944. The couple soon married, playing at their own military base wedding in Germany. After the war, they moved to Chicago to be near Jimmy's family. Then, in 1949, the McPartlands settled in Manhattan, living in an apartment in the same building as the Nordstrom Sisters. With Jimmy's help and encouragement, Marian started her own trio, which performed at The Embers from 1950, and subsequently enjoyed a long residency at a New York City jazz club, the Hickory House, during 1952–60. The drummer Joe Morello was a member of the group until he departed to join Dave Brubeck's Quartet.
In 1958 a black and white group portrait of 57 notable jazz musicians, including McPartland, was photographed in front of a brownstone in Harlem, New York City. Art Kane, a freelance photographer working for Esquire magazine, took the photo, which was called, "A Great Day in Harlem", and it became a well-known image of New York's jazz musicians of the time. Immediately preceding her death in August 2013, she was one of only four of the 57 participating musicians who were still alive. After many years of recording for labels such as Capitol, Savoy, Argo, Sesac, Time, and Dot, in 1969 she founded her own record label, Halcyon Records, before having a long association with the Concord label. Marian and Jimmy divorced in 1972, but they remained close, and remarried in 1991, shortly before Jimmy's death.
In 1964, Marian McPartland launched a new venture on WBAI-FM (New York City), conducting a weekly radio program that featured recordings and interviews with guests. Pacifica Radio's West Coast stations also carried this series, which paved the way for Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz, a National Public Radio series that began on 4 June 1978. It was the longest-running cultural program on NPR, as well as one of the longest-running jazz programs ever produced on public radio. The program featured McPartland at the keyboard with guest performers, usually pianists, but also singers, guitarists, other musicians, and even the non-musician Studs Terkel. Several Piano Jazz programs have been released on CD by Concord Records. She celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the NPR series with a live taping at the Kennedy Center for which Peter Cincotti was the guest. After not having recorded a new show since September 2010, on 10 November 2011, NPR announced that McPartland was stepping down as host of Piano Jazz. She then asked her long-time friend, jazz pianist Jon Weber, to carry on with the show. As a result, Piano Jazz: Rising Stars, an NPR series hosted by Weber, began broadcast on 3 January 2012. Piano Jazz soon returned to the air in repeat broadcasts.
McPartland was awarded a Grammy in 2004, a Trustees' Lifetime Achievement Award, for her work as an educator, writer, and host of NPR Radio's long-running Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz. Although a master at adapting to her guest's musical styles and having a well-known affinity for beautiful and harmonically-rich ballads, she also recorded many tunes of her own. Her compositions included "Ambiance," "There'll Be Other Times," "With You in Mind," "Twilight World," and "In the Days of Our Love."
McPartland's encyclopaedic knowledge of jazz standards, highly musical ear, involvement in over 60 years of evolving jazz styles, and rich experience blending with radio guests led to a musical style that was described as "flexible and complex, and almost impossible to pigeonhole." She was known as a harmonically and rhythmically complex and inventive improviser. "She was never content to be in one place, and always kept improving. She has great ears and great harmonics. Because of her ear, she can go into two or three different keys in a tune and shift with no problem."
- Jazz at Storyville (Savoy, 1951)
- Lullaby of Birdland (Savoy, 1952)
- Moods (Savoy, 1953)
- Marian McPartland at the Hickory House (Capitol, 1955)
- Marian McPartland After Dark (Capitol, 1956)
- With You in Mind (Capitol, 1957)
- Marian McPartland at the London House (Argo, 1959)
- Interplay (Halcyon, 1969)
- Ambiance (Jazz Alliance, 1970)
- Now's the Time (Halcyon, 1977)
- From This Moment On (Concord, 1978)
- At the Festival (Concord, 1979)
- Personal Choice (Concord, 1982)
- Willow Creek and Other Ballads (Concord, 1985)
- Marian McPartland Plays the Benny Carter Songbook (1990)
- In My Life (Concord, 1993)
- Live at Yoshi's Nitespot (Concord, 1995)
- Silent Pool (Concord, 1997)
- Windows (Concord, 2004)
- Twilight World (2008)
[Many of her "Piano Jazz" shows have been released on CD by the Jazz Alliance]
With Helen Merrill
- Merrill at Midnight (EmArcy, 1957)
- Bates College
- Berklee College of Music
- Bowling Green State University
- City University of New York
- Eastman School of Music
- Hamilton College
- Ithaca College
- Union College
- University of South Carolina
- 2007 – National Radio Hall of Fame
- 2006 – Long Island Music Hall of Fame induction
- 2004 – Grammy Trustees Award from the Recording Academy
- 2001 – American Eagle Award from the National Music Council
- 2001 – Gracie Allen Award from the American Women in Radio and Television
- 2000 – NEA Jazz Masters Award
- 2000 – Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Award
- 1994 – Down Beat Lifetime Achievement Award
- 1991 – ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award
- 1986 – International Jazz Association of Jazz Education Hall of Fame induction
- 1983 – Peabody Award
- Hasson, Claire, "Marian McPartland: Jazz Pianist: An Overview of a Career". PhD Thesis.. Retrieved 12 August 2008.
- "Marian McPartland Stepping Away From Keyboard on Her ‘Piano Jazz’ Radio Show". Retrieved 20 December 2011.
- Obituary: Marian McPartland, telegraph.co.uk, 21 August 2013
- Jazz spots such as the Hickory House and The Embers were thriving night clubs.
- "Judge for Yourself" in Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, A Complete Directory to Prime Time Cable and Network TV Shows, 1946 – Present, New York: Random House Publishing, 2003, p.822.
- Day, Jeffrey (13 November 2007). "Jazz great McPartland to unveil symphonic piece on Rachel Carson". popmatters.com. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
- The London Gazette: . 31 December 2009.
- Hasson, Claire. A Discussion Of Marian McPartland's Style in "Marian McPartland: Jazz Pianist: An Overview of a Career".
- MacFadyen, J. Tevere (1985), Liner notes to Marian McPartland: Willow Creek And Other Ballads, Concord Jazz Inc.
- Zych, D. (1997), "Marian McPartland: True Devotion", JazzTimes, vol. 27, no. 8, October, pp. 31–37.
- Balliett, W. (1977), New York Notes: A Journal Of Jazz In The Seventies, New York: Da Capo Press Inc., p. 289.
- Contreras, Felix (21 August 2013) "Marian McPartland, 'Piano Jazz' Host, Has Died", NPR. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
- Keepnews, Peter, "Marian McPartland, Jazz Pianist and NPR Radio Staple, Dies at 95", New York Times, 22 August 2013, p. B17 of the New York edition.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Marian McPartland.|
- Marian McPartland at the Internet Movie Database
- The Sweet and Lovely Legacy of Marian McPartland
- Marian McPartland's Official Facebook Page
- Marian McPartland bio
- Piano Jazz: Meet Marian McPartland
- Marian McPartland, Grande Dame of 'Piano Jazz'
- NPR's version of Marian McPartland's biography
- "Marian McPartland Plays Ornette Coleman (and Everything Else!") by Ted Gioia, Jazz.com.
- "Interview with Marian McPartland" by Arnold Jay Smith, Jazz.com.
- "Marian McPartland, Jazz Pianist: An Overview Of A Musical Career"
- "ETV Radio celebrates 90th birthday of jazz legend Marian McPartland"
- "Marian McPartland" (obituary), The Telegraph, 21 August 2013.
- Martin Chilton, "Marian McPartland and Jane Harvey: Jazz pioneers – Jazz world mourns the loss of two trailblazing women stars", The Telegraph, 22 August 2013.
- "Marian McPartland, jazz pianist and radio host, dies", BBC News, 22 August 2013.